Yes, what would you suggest to make TopGear better for the year ahead?
If I may, I would like to suggest that they:
1. Remove Dong Magsajo's Column;
2. Lesser advertisements;
3. Better, readable fonts;
4. Longer reviews in the 'Drives' section;
5. More reader-staffer communication;
6. A few staff members have their own column;
7. Not focus solely in Manila territory.
1. Personally, I don't like his column. He writes as if he is one arrogant, cocky, bastard, son-of-a-b*tch. The way he delivers his message, it's as if we need to give way or steer clear away from him and he's beliefs. He writes as if there are people out to get him. WTF?! I'm sure Drinnie Aguilar would make a better columnist.
2. Upon reading the article (November 2008 issue), and turning the page, I was surprised - and annoyed - to see Mark Gil's face in the magazine. It was a 'WTF' moment for me, as I wasn't expecting a car magazine to be promoting hair growth. I mean, advertisements about engine upgrades, sound set-ups, suspension settings, rims, wheels, etc., would be alright because it is still a part of the car. But hair growth? Excuse me, but I think we, loyal TopGear readers, still boast of a head full of hair, thank you very much.
3. It started with the October 2008 issue, and yet, it hasn't changed. Oh well, at least the Editor's Note and the other stuff have been changed. But the WCRC section still has it, which makes it difficult identifying a period from a comma; a semicolon from a colon; and the fonts are not so readable at night time.
4. What is the purpose of having test-drive articles? To test the car thoroughly so that potential buyers will have an idea of how it is to drive that certain car. But, some test-drive articles are done in only one page - which is very lacking in complete, necessary details (suspension, interior bits, cup-holders). I hope each car tested next year will desrve two pages for a thorough report on a certain car.
5. Some staff members communicate with us; some don't. If we look at the staff page of the magazine, we see a lot of names. But, actually, just how many are here in the forum, so that we may ask them directly? There's Vernon, Paulo, Carmela, Dinzo, Sharleen, Ferman (sometimes), Beeboy (sometimes), and Raynand. How about Jason, Ulysses, Botchi, Jaykee, Les, Robby, Aris, Erle, Al, and Dong? Do we still wait for the next issue to get an answer from them? Moreover, is there such thing as a part-time and full-time staffer? How come Jason and Uly are only for test-drives? Why don't they go on Road Trips? So is Botchi, why doesn't he go? Are they just part-time staffers? What distinguishes a part-time staffer from a full-time one?
6. Aside from Vernon's Front End column, I think he needs to have another column for himself. (Just like C!'s James Deakin: he has an Editor's Note Column, and a Counterflow column.) I really enjoy reading his articles on the Manilatimes.net internet edition, and I think he needs a column where he can share his ideas. Also, Dinzo definitely needs to have one, as I enjoy his wise-cracks very much. Or remove a few columnist and let Vernon and Dinzo take their roles. That would be very interesting, indeed.
7. Finally, I would like to suggest that TopGear should reach out to fans aside from the Manila area. For instance, why not have a Show-Off car from Visayas and Mindanao? You don't need to come here to personally do it; you can easily ask the questions via email and send sample shots of the pictures you want to be published. I'm sure the car owner would be honored to take his/her own pictures of the car according to your samples. All you have to do is select the best pictures, publish it, and it's as good as done. End result: You get a reader happy. You get more aspirants from the Visayas and Mindanao. And you reach a wider audience. See? Everybody happy.
That would be all I can suggest for next year. Good luck to TopGear Philippines.